Data from Home.co.uk demonstrates the potential that Belfast has to offer for buy-to-let investors. In July 2008 average property prices were £251,584 which fell to £143,218 in October 2014. However, since then Belfast has experienced huge growth and property prices have been on an upward trajectory.
Given the growth of Northern Ireland’s private rented sector in recent years, such opportunities in Belfast are increasingly popular with investors looking to achieve strong rental yields and it is fast becoming the city of choice for increasing numbers.
The city has a resident population of 281,000 people, which represents more than 15 per cent of Northern Ireland’s total population. The wider Belfast metropolitan area has a population extending to 650,000, which represents 36% of Northern Ireland’s total population.
The wider Belfast metropolitan area has a population of 650,000.
Two world-class universities and an extensive network of further education colleges provide excellent academic and vocational training around Northern Ireland. Both universities are responsive to business, creating graduates with skills in business-relevant areas. Over 4,000 people graduate each year with business qualifications in Northern Ireland.
The number of Northern Ireland schools achieving a perfect 100% GCSE pass rate has almost doubled. The most respected schools are Antrim Grammar; Assumption Grammar; Loreto College, Coleraine; Our Lady and St Patrick’s College; Rathmore Grammar; Strathearn School; St Dominic’s High School; Rainey Endowed School and St Louis Grammar in Ballymena.
The recent rise of schools moving up the latest league tables signifies that Northern Ireland has a bright future and is a sound endorsement of our education system. It is clear that academic selection is providing pathways for our students which allow them to flourish into the skilled workforce of Belfast. Furthermore, Belfast continues to provide an excellent education for every pupil, regardless of their socio-economic background.
As a hi-tech enterprise, an industrial innovator and a great standard of living on offer to locals makes Belfast one of the most attractive inward investment locations in Europe. In recent years, Belfast Harbour has become an economic hub. Up to 32,000 jobs are expected to be created, boosting £4 billion into the economy by 2031. The harbour area covers over 2,000 acres representing a fifth of the Belfast city parameter; Northern Ireland’s logistics and distribution hub. An excellent position local economy, Belfast Harbour operates the principal maritime gateway on the island of Ireland.
Moreover, a young and highly educated workforce and lower corporation tax brings additional opportunities to new sectors such as advanced manufacturing companies. It is clear that Belfast has a strongly pro-business climate with support for business growth from regional government, attracting foreign investment from multinational corporations; Capita, Intel, Fujitsu, Citibank, HBO and Microsoft.
The average price for property in Belfast stood at £153,476 in July 2017. This is a rise of 0.99% in the last three months (since April 2017) and a rise of 1.36% since 12 months ago. In terms of property types, flats in Belfast sold for an average of £128,902 and terraced houses for £126,597. This is according to the current Zoopla estimates.
Belfast’s key sectors include finance and business services, creative and digital industries, ICT and software development, advanced engineering, tourism and hospitality. Belfast is the world’s top destination city for financial services technologies investments. This success has led to more than 800 international companies employing in excess of 75,000 people.
Labour costs in Belfast are 15% lower than the UK average according to the city council, while labour turnover is less than 8%. This combo makes it an attractive city for large, modern employers, with the result that Belfast’s economy is dominated by global, high-tech service sector companies providing excellent opportunities for the bright young professionals flocking to the city.
Belfast has an excellent communications and transport network. It is only one hour from London by air and two hours from Dublin by rail and road. The M2 motorway provides access to the North towards Derry/Londonderry, while the M1 motorway provides access to the south and west towards Dublin.
The city also benefits from having four railway stations and two airports. Flights provide travel to all major UK and international locations, including the US and mainland Europe.